Recent Works by Margaret Lawrence at Greenhouse Galleries

Margaret Lawrence, Along the Path, oil on panel, 32 x 32 inches

From June 6-29, Greenhut is pleased to present a solo exhibition of 23 oils and 5 gouaches by long-time Greenhut artist Margaret Lawrence. Work featured includes landscapes continuing the artist’s recent explorations of the interplay between water, land and sky, as well as a spring fresh meditation on flowers, contemplated deeply through texture and abstractions of form.

Of her new body of work, the artist says: My intent with these paintings was to further explore those moments that uplift and foster hope; taking pause to appreciate the cycle of the sun, the in and out of the tide, and the beauty of perennials in varying stages of bloom. In challenging times these natural cycles are sustaining and grounding. This is a premise that has been the underpinning of my work for some time — nature is a valued mentor.

This reflective, internalized response to the physical environment informs her tranquil and textured dreamscapes, which seem to exist at the horizon between the personal and the universal.

In Lawrence’s own words, “My paintings are developed by removing paint as much as by applying it. Through this layering, the give and take of paint, an image that was inspired by a specific place transforms into a sense of place.” This approach yields a rich image using layered surfaces with deceptively complex color and texture. Both the effect achieved and Lawrence’s process itself are evocative of dream formation, wherein specific personal memories undergo a similar cycle of abrasion and accretion before they wash up in our dreams. Stripped of literal meaning but enriched with latent content, they exist in the symbolic realm, just beyond the grasp of language, where boundaries soften and binaries dissolve….  

After working as a registered nurse until her children were school aged, Margaret decided to pursue a long-harbored interest in art, eventually earning a BFA at Maine College of Art. In 2015, she was commissioned to create four large paintings for the Augusta Judicial Center’s permanent collection. In recent years she has participated in an artist residency at the International School of Painting and Drawing and Sculpture in Umbria, Italy. Her work is in many private and corporate collections in Canada, Great Britain, and throughout the U.S. Margaret has been represented by Greenhut since 1997.

Susan Barnes, Near There, mixed media on panel, 40 x 32 inches

Our June side gallery exhibition features mixed media landscapes by Susan Barnes. Art writer Kristi Niemeyer characterizes Barnes as “A gypsy painter,” whose “imagination, stretched taut as a canvas, guides her hands,” adding that “her experience…frames each painting.” As a child, Barnes lived in Alaska where the landscape was a constant inspiration. Before settling in Maine in 2000, Barnes also lived in Boston, Montana, and New York City. Her evocative landscapes, marked by a fluidity of motion and a passionate hand, combine elements of the media she loves most: photography, collage and painting. Barnes is known for creating a sense of place both expansive and introspective, its focus both external and internal. In this artist’s work, we see the physical landscape deconstructed and reconfigured by its impact with memory and emotion. The paintings are equally rich visually and psychologically. Their truths unfold before us, like the interior monologue of a sensitive and eloquent narrator.

Susan Barnes received her MFA from SUNY Buffalo in 1982. She also studied at Portland State University, University of Montana and the Rocky Mountain School of Photography, where she taught classes in Mixed Media Manipulations. She is the recipient of a Montana State Arts grant and has shown in galleries and, occasionally, museums in the Western states.

Greenhut Galleries is located at 146 Middle Street, Portland, ME 04101

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